Volume 45 Number 61
                    Produced: Sat Nov 13 19:57:16 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Hannukah and Halloween
         [David Riceman]
Human products
         [Pinchas Roth]
Lateness to Shul (2)
         [Martin Stern, Avi Feldblum]
         [Batya Medad]
Tfiliin and mirrors- Where should one put on tallit and Tefillin
         [Natan Kahan]
Torah L'Shma


From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 07:53:48 -0500
Subject: Hannukah and Halloween

I don't recall whether our annual darkei haemori [imitating idolotrous
practices] question about Halloween has ever migrated to one about
giving gifts on Hannukah.  As far as I can tell it is a recent practice
started in imitation of a Christian custom.  Is there a problem of
darkei haemori [see above]?

David Riceman


From: Pinchas Roth <pinchas2@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 19:04:30 +0800
Subject: Human products

Rambam, at the beginning of the 3rd chapter of Forbidden Foods
(Maachalot Assurot 3:4) says that, though human milk is not forbidden
(as he says ibid 3:2), the Rabbis forbade grown-ups to drink it directly
at the source.

As to human flesh and Yeshivat Har Etzion: when I was there, I remember
that periodically (for instance, at the Hannuka party), people would ask
each of the two roshei yeshiva what they would do if faced with the
choice between non-kosher meat (nevela) and human flesh. Rav Amital said
he would eat the non-kosher meat, since the consumption of human flesh
is uncountenanceable. While Rav Lichtenstein said he would eat the human
flesh, which is only rabbinically forbidden. I can't vouch for the
authenticity of either opinion, but that's how the story went.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 11:26:27 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

on 12/11/04 10:31 am, Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...> wrote:

> I have always found it amusing that people criticize so harshly someone
> who comes late to shul, even habitually.  Meanwhile, the people who
> never come to shul but just daven at home all the time (or most of the
> time) are completely spared from the criticism.  You are only
> criticising the late person because you see him.  At least he's coming
> to shul!  Don't you think that's better than not coming at all?

I can't see coming to shul has much value if we do not daven
properly. As I see things, people seem to consider davenning as some
sort of mantra recitation which has to be done but should not interfere
too much with more important things. If we saw it as a chance to
communicate with HKBH we might take it a little more seriously. The main
point is to daven and, if going to shul prevents doing so in any
meaningful manner, it is better to stay at home if one will be less
disturbed there. In the concept of tefillah betsibbur -public prayer -
the ikkar (primary point) is tefillah (prayer) and the betsibbur (in
public) is secondary. A shul is not meant to be a social gathering but a
place where we can gather as a congregation to communicate with HKBH.

> I've reflected on this a bit and I think my main objection is that
> with so many serious issues that need to be addressed in the frum
> community, is lateness to shul what we need to focus on?  What about
> the shidduch crisis, agunot, teens at risk, etc. etc.

These are very serious issues but discussing them on mail-jewish won't
do much to solve them. Coming to shul on time is something anyone can do
if they think it is important enough.

> Even if you want to focus on problems in tefila, my point is why not
> get more people to come to shul, rather than attack the people who are
> already doing so?  By focusing on this issue, you could actually be
> doing damage... if I do not usually daven in shul, but when I do, I'm
> usually late, seeing that latecomers are the focus of criticism is
> only going to keep me away from shul even more.  I strongly disagree
> with any notion that it is preferable to daven at home than to come
> late to shul, so anything that will keep people from going to shul,
> however late, seems counterproductive.

Once one has what I consider the correct perspective on tefillah, coming
late is no longer something to be accepted as the norm. If one's shul
davens so fast that one cannot keep up, while having at the same time
some idea of the meaning of what one is saying, one is certainly wasting
one's time attending (this applies to weekdays in the main). There is a
limit as to how much one can say in advance so as to maintain the
minimal tefillah betsibbur which is starting shemoneh esrei with the
congregation.  I just about manage in my shul where we take 40-45
minutes on STWF and 50-55 on MTh but most other places I have been to
are much quicker, or start so late and are so slow that one has to leave
before the end to get to work.

I do not want to criticise latecomers as people, only the concept of
coming late as a social norm. I have therefore used the columns of
mail-jewish rather than speak to such people personally if I cannot
think of an appropriate way to do so.  If anyone comes to realise as a
result of reading this correspondence that coming late is not the ideal,
and makes a greater effort in future, then it will have served its
purpose of "Hakol havu godel lElokeinu - let everyone ascribe greatness
to our G-d!"

There will always be circumstances where people are late for quite
legitimate reasons beyond their control. So long as they have done
whatever is reasonably possible they cannot be blamed. I gave the
example of the gentleman who sits next to me who has 7 children aged up
to 8 years old who is almost never late. If he were late on an
occasional weekday morning it would be obvious that something unexpected
had delayed him such as a child not being well. Let us be honest, most
of us do not have such excuses; all we need to do is set our alarms to
go off 5-10 minutes earlier.

> Wanting to make positive change is great!  But let's focus our
> precious energy where it will do good, not harm.

So let us rather focus on things we can do something about rather than
those over which we have little influence.

Martin Stern

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 19:15:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

On Fri, 12 Nov 2004, Martin Stern wrote:
> I can't see coming to shul has much value if we do not daven properly. As I
> see things, people seem to consider davenning as some sort of mantra
> recitation which has to be done but should not interfere too much with more
> important things. ... In the concept of tefillah
> betsibbur -public prayer - the ikkar (primary point) is tefillah (prayer)
> and the betsibbur (in public) is secondary. A shul is not meant to be a
> social gathering but a place where we can gather as a congregation to
> communicate with HKBH.

I think that a lot depends on where you are and what are the
circumstances of the community. For many places, especially those that
are "out of town" (i.e. away from the major Jewish centers), the Shabbat
shul experience may be the only Jewish contact that the individual
has. I am not sure I am willing to agree with Martin that the tefillah
(prayer) is truely the ikkar (primary point) for many of these
people. The fact that they come to shul, especially if they are coming
to an orthodox shul, is something to support, even if they do not do any
tefillah at all. It is very possible, and I have seen this, that after
some amount of time, possibly even a few years, tefillah and other
halachik requirements come to mean more to them.  I also suspect that
the people that are not coming to shul are not those who do not come
because they may have additional kavannah at home. They are the ones who
have even less connection to Judaism than the ones who come but have
little connection to tefillah. It is a very difficult question, in my
mind, how we balance the desires of those like Martin, who want everyone
to come on time and already know what the "real" purpose of why one is
in shul, with the reality I see in out of town America. Maybe England is

Avi Feldblum


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 13:10:37 +0200
Subject: Love

love, le'ehov

It's really not clear what the Biblical--linguistic meaning is, but it
sure isn't of the romantic type.  I'm an English teacher, and there is
no good translation for the English "like."  We have a complicated
situation wherein we think in modern English, and even those totally
fluent in Hebrew, it's modern Hebrew.  Once at a shiur I suggested using
an "x" like algebra for the verb and see all the places it's used in the
Tanach to get a more accurate idea of what it once meant.  But please
remember that all languages change and develop.

[From a second posting. Mod.]
I just took a better look at the pasuk.  What Yitzchak loves is that his
son prepares food for him, kibud av.

http://me-ander.blogspot.com/ <http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/>


From: Natan Kahan <datankan@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 14:00:49 +0200
Subject: Tfiliin and mirrors- Where should one put on tallit and Tefillin

Please see Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 12 Siman 6 paragraph 6 in which Rabbi
Eliezer Judah Waldenburg relates to this issue as follows:

 1. He brings the opinion of Reb Chaim of Sanz (Divrei Chayim Vol. 2 OC
    Siman 6) in which he states with "charifut" eg with
    strong vitriol, that looking in a mirror to put on teffillin
    is "minhag boroot"- a custom based on ignorance since it
    is utterly unnecessary, and should therefore NOT be done.
 2. Looking in a mirror to put on teffilin is a chumrah (and a ridiculous
    one at that) which relies on a kula: allowing men to look in the
    mirror which is assur midorayta according to the Shulchan Aruch and
    the GR"A (Yorah Deah 156:2 and 182:6) as a derivative of the
    prohibition of "lo yilbash gever simlat isha".
 3. He concludes by saying that there are people who because of
    hitchasdut (loosely translated as misguided piety but generally
    connoting an arrogant holier than thou attitude) neither see the
    chiur (ugliness) nor the "muzaroot" (strangeness or
    abnormality) of looking in a mirror in shul or alternatively at their
    reflection in the glass door of a bookcase.

Carl Singer writes: --

> but I recall in many shules the custom was to "get dressed" (don
>Tallis & Tefillin) in an anteroom or the vestibule.

 Please note Shulchan Aruch OH 25:2 where the Mechaber states that one
should put on tefillin at home ant then go to shul and put on the talis
gadol and daven shacharit (the Rema"h adds that one should put on the
tallis gadol before teffilin at home and then go to shul).  Both the
Mishna Brurah and the Aruch Hashulchan comment that today either because
of fear of the goyim or filth in the streets common practice is to put
on tallis and tefillin in the chatser (courtyard) of the shul and then
walk into the shul itself to daven.  I imagine that this is the source
of the custom Mr.Singer cites.

Natan R. Kahan


From: Minden <phminden@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 12:39:39 +0100
Subject: Re: Torah L'Shma

> From: Akiva Wolff <wolff@...>
> I seem to remember that Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch describes the
> concept of learning Torah l'shma quite differently than the usual
> 'yeshivish' definition. Apparently he writes that learning Torah lishma
> means learning in order to do, to make the learning l'ma'aseh. Does
> anyone know the exact quote from Hirsch and where it is found?

(Hope the umlauts etc. make it over the ocean...)

[Something made it over. I can see it in some applications, not in
others. I'm passing it through to the list, so if your mail client does
not see it correctly, you can still see the English translation
below. Mod.]

Chourev § 493: "Aber  f ü r s   L e b e n   m u ß t   d u   l e r n e n  -
das ist die hohe Regel des Gesetzes. Mit wachem Geist, mit regem Herzen
sollst du lernen:  u m   z u   ü b e n.  Aus der Lehre das Leben, das
eigene zu erlernen, - nur dann kannst du sie erlernen, nur dann erschließt
sich dir ihre Inneres.  J e d e r   a n d e r e   Z w e c k,  sei's
Geistes- oder Witzesschärfung, sei's gar Ehre und Ansehen und Brot - es
hat Wert, weil Hoffnung da ist, im Umgange mit der Lehre werdest du sie
des einen hohen Zweckes halber lieben und lernen, - aber zum Ziele, es an
sich, führt es nicht.

Translation (mine, not the canonical...):

"But  y o u   h a v e   t o   l e a r n   f o r   L i f e  - that is the
august rule [klal, not srore] of the law. You are to learn with an awake
spirit, with an agile heart:  i n   o r d e r   t o   c a r r y   o u t.
Learning Life, one's own, from the teaching, - only then will you be able
to learn it [the teaching], only then will it's innermost open up to you.
As for  a n y   o t h e r   p ur p o s e,  be it whetting your spirit or
wit, be it even honour, esteem and bread - this is of value, as there is
hope you will, by exposure to the teaching, love and learn it for the one
august purpose, - but to the aim, it in itself [Hegelian/Schopenhauerian
term, but I think this is how he renders lishmoh], it does not lead."

ELPh Minden


End of Volume 45 Issue 61